Designing brochures with translation in mind

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Are you designing a brochure that will be translated into other languages?

Here are a few tips:

  • Leave plenty of white space – Bear in mind that some European languages can be 50% longer than English. In contrast, Chinese can be 50% shorter.
  • Avoid tight headers/mastheads – When translated, they may become three lines of text.
  • Avoid justified text – It will often look full of holes in languages with long words.
  • Avoid colouring some words within a sentence – To emphasize some words, we sometimes want to make them a different colour, font size or weight. However, this may not be a wise choice on a translation. Other languages have very different grammar from English, what you aimed for visually in your English design may disappear in the translated material, or it may not look as good.
  • Use Unicode fonts and avoid multiple fonts and font weights – The fonts you use for the English materials may not work for other languages. This being said, we’ll try our best to recreate the feel of your original!
  • Remember that Arabic reads from right to left and that brochures also open from the back when you go to your printer.

What about typographical conventions?

These vary from one language to the next. French has a space between the word and the question mark that follows. In German, nouns take capital letters. In Spanish and French, neither months nor days of the week take an initial capital. A Greek question mark will look like a semi colon, etc…

To discuss your future multilingual DTP requirements, please contact Petr or Françoise on (02) 9356 1600. Or email us: [email protected]

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